Maintaining a healthy headspace
Published at: 11 Oct 2019
THIS WEEK MARKS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK WHICH SEES EVENTS HELD ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO RAISE AWARENESS AND REDUCE THE STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH. THE SHEPPARTON HEADSPACE OFFICE MARKED ITS OFFICIAL DAY ON OCTOBER 9 WITH A SPECIAL EVENT AT THE CENTRE. WE TOOK A DEEPER LOOK AT THE AUSTRALIAN NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION FOR YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IN 2006.
Officially opening in 2013, headspace Shepparton has provided a safe space for youth throughout the region.
Community Awareness Officer at headspace Shepparton Leah Farnham said it was a youth health service that worked with young people aged 12-25 in the areas of mental health, sexual health, general wellbeing and vocational education.
“It’s pretty easy for young people to access the service; we have a walk-in option where they can walk in and see someone here; if they’re in schools they can get a referral from their wellbeing team… also going to their GP which should be the first point of call then they’ll refer them over here and they can come in,” she said.
Each new client completes an intake process, according to Ms Farnham, which only takes around 5-15 minutes where they discuss the person’s concerns.
The friendly, colourful environment is an inviting space for young people which Ms Farnham said ensured the centre did not feel like a clinical mental health environment.
“We want to make sure that young people are feeling comfortable and they’re in a youth-friendly space and it’s somewhere where they want to access the service,” she said.
“Not only our service but our clinicians… are youth friendly and engage young people at their own level.”
The Shepparton office’s new manager Allison Sanderson began working in the role this week, fittingly coinciding with headspace day on Wednesday October 9.
She said she decided to apply for the role after holding previous positions in mental health in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
“I’ve got three children in the age bracket of headspace,” she said.
“It was basically another challenge for me.”
Ms Sanderson said she was incredibly excited to join the team in Shepparton, working with young people in particular.
“I’m very strong on mental health…if you can intervene earlier, when it comes to adults they know how to better manage their mental health and ask for help, so you’re not going to see the volume in adult (care),” she said.
Ms Farnham said the key message being driven during headspace day was ensuring young people were aware of how to maintain being mentally healthy.
Different stalls were set up during the day with tips for how to maintain a healthy headspace.
“We look at tips for a healthy headspace as almost being coping strategies on how to deal with tough times in life,” Ms Farnham said.
She said these strategies could range from staying socially connected to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, ensuring young people knew how to navigate through hardship.
She reminded young people who were not coping to access headspace for support either via the Shepparton centre or via eheadspace online.
Ms Farnham said the online service was basically the same as the service received at any headspace centre.
“Young people can jump online and they can talk via the chat, Skype, email or on the phone and they’ll get the same clinician (each time),” she said.
headspace Shepparton is located at 129 High St, Shepparton.
Meet the team here
Click here to find out more about the Goulburn Valley Area Mental Health Services